LSU’s bench outscored Mississippi State’s bench 32-12 to help the Tigers (15-8) defeat the Bulldogs (7-17) 80-68 on Saturday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU senior guard Charles Carmouche scored 21 points off the bench, with 15 of those points coming from beyond the arc.
“I have to say I thought our guys did an excellent job of really staying the course,” said LSU head coach Johnny Jones. “I thought they shared the ball extremely well today, getting 24 assists, looking and creating opportunities for each other.”
The Tigers had five players in double figures, including 7-foot-3 senior center Andrew Del Piero, who had 13 points and 5 boards. LSU forward Johnny O’Bryant added his 11th double-double of the year, with 10 points and 11 rebounds as LSU controlled the paint.
"We are not the biggest team, but the past few games we've played much bigger,” said O’Bryant. “Andrew (Del Piero) has done well the past few games. I've done well. We just played much bigger."
LSU also shot 55 percent from the field and held Mississippi State to 46 percent shooting.
The Tigers came out quickly and used a 6-0 run that featured an Andre Stringer jumper, a bucket by Del Piero and an O'Bryant III lay in to build a 14-7 lead with 13:32 to go in the first half. LSU upped the margin to 19-12 three minutes later, but Mississippi State, much as it did in the first half in Starkville became the more aggressive team for a brief time.
State came back from seven down to tie the game at 23-23 on a layup by Roquez Johnson, a three by Fred Thomas and a jumper by Ware.
But the Tigers didn't give the lead to State, as LSU broke from a 25-25 tie to a 35-26 advantage with 2:30 to go in the first half as Del Piero with a couple of buckets, and Anthony Hickey with a three forced Mississippi State to take a second time out at 38-26 with 1:39 to play.
LSU closed the half up, 41-28, shooting 58.6 percent from the field (17-of-29) and 55.6 percent from the arc (5-of-9).
State came out strong at the start of the second half getting a three-point play from Sword and then a layup by Thomas off an LSU turnover to immediately cut the Tiger lead to eight at 43-35. But that was as close as the Bulldogs, who fell for the 10th straight game, would get.
The Tigers got a dunk and a layup from Del Piero, and three pointers from Hickey and Carmouche to expand the lead to 16 points, 53-37, with 15:58 to play in the game.
LSU, coming off an 18-point win on Thursday, tried to make it two straight big second halves opening the margin to 19, 57-38, at the 12:11 mark as Del Piero made a free throw to tie his career high of 10 points.
The margin went to 20 twice near the midway point of the second half the first on a Shavon Coleman trey and then a layup that made it 62-42 with 10:41 to play.
The Tigers, who led by as much as 20 points on a couple of occasions in the second half, has now won the first two legs of this most difficult Thursday-Saturday-Tuesday swing that concludes Tuesday night at Tennessee.
Johnny Jones and LSU has now won their last five of six games and has pulled even in the SEC with a record of 6-6.
"It is great it's in our hands but we can't settle for that,” said Hickey of getting to .500 in conference play. “We have to get better every day. I'm glad we are at .500 but we have some more games left. It is all about getting these wins."